Alcoa recently announced that its Alcoa World Alumina and Chemicals (AWAC) affiliate and the Government of Jamaica have signed an agreement in principle to expand the Jamalco alumina refinery in Clarendon, Jamaica, by more than 1.5 million metric tons per year (mtpy). The expansion will more than double the refinery's total capacity to at least 2.8 million mtpy. In addition, AWAC ownership in the refinery will move from 50% to 70%. The government of Jamaica will continue to own the remaining 30%. AWAC will pay approximately 85% of the total proposed $800 million for the expansion and movement to 70% ownership. The expansion initiative stems from a 2002 agreement with the Jamaican government to remove a nearly 30-year-old levy on bauxite in order to encourage investment. AWAC is a global alliance between Alcoa and Alumina Ltd, with Alcoa holding 60%. A final decision to move forward on the project is expected to be made in the first half of 2005. Upon approval, it is expected that the expansion project will be completed by the end of 2007.
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